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Commissioners delay action on turbine regulations  

Discuss Land Dev. Ordinance

Discussions of changes in the county’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance continued during Thursday’s meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners, with the board delaying action to gather additional information on regulating the controversial wind turbines.

Herb Miller, of the citizens’ group Save God’s County, suggested that the board question what results energy company AES had gathered from wind studies in northern Potter County.

He added that research his organization had conducted on the Internet showed northcentral Pennsylvania’s wind strength measured at Category 2, with the highest levels in the Midwest at a Category 7.

Art Kerr presented a 19- page petition to the board that included signatures from residents in Hebron, Ulysses and Eulalia townships who oppose any turbine construction.

Commissioner Paul Heimel addressed the public with a prepared statement on the turbines.

“I can’t even estimate how many hours have gone into the research and other informationgathering,” he said. “Those processes are continuing, which is why we have not formally acted on the Potter County Planning Commission’s recommended regulations.”

The board has been and will be meeting with the various interest groups involved, adding to “volumes” of information the commissioners have received on the issue. The board is also looking into legal and taxation issues, and will travel to industrial wind turbine sites elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Heimel said.

“I’m confident that the decisions we reach will be based on a thorough assessment of Potter County’s best interests from the standpoint of protecting the public health, safety and welfare, while remaining respectful of private property rights.”

A right that residents should be made aware of was also addressed during the meeting.

Sherry Hoffman from the Potter County Area Agency on Aging discussed what residents need to do to qualify for the federal tax rebates.

Most taxpayers will receive the stimulus payments (assuming they qualify) simply by filing their income tax return statements for 2007, she said. The problem lies for those who don’t normally file a tax return.

Those people, including lowincome households, social security benefactors, retired rail road workers and those collecting veterans benefits, may still be eligible to receive a stimulus payment, but they must file a tax return for 2007, Hoffman said.

Hoffman warned that there are a number of criminals attempting to scam people out of their rebate checks. Those people call requesting information on the phone or directing the recipient to fill out information on an internet website.

The filing deadline for taxes is April 15.

In other business, he commissioners approved a contract with Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for on-site physician services to the Potter County Jail, for a monthly cost of $2,200. That doesn’t include separate billings for hospital or office visits.

A lease agreement was approved with Potter County Human Services for continued use of the L.L. Smith School Building in Roulette for $2,779 per month. Commissioner Chair Doug Morley announced that the mortgage for the countyowned building in Roulette was recently paid off.

The board approved contracts with Schindler Elevator Corporation for maintenance and repair services for the courthouse elevator, at $283 per month, and the elevator in the Gunzburger Annex, at the cost of $162 per month.

Cleveland Brothers will be performing preventative maintenance services on the annex generator, at an annual cost of $765. Morley said that the sprinkler system is the only remaining item needing a contract for maintenance.

The commissioners said a space needs assessment and planning study being performed on the annex by LaBella Associates is nearly complete. The board will review the results and try to find the best fits for the available office spaces.

“My desire was to have a one-stop shop for all county needs,” Commissioner Susan Kefover said, “but I don’t know if that will happen.”

The board pointed out that there may not be enough space in the building to fit all of the county offices, particularly if Human Services is part of the equation.

By Travis Moshier

Endeavor News

29 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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